The amount, duration of occupancy, time of payment, and other particulars, are frequently set forth in a lease. In a very large number of cases, however, no such paper is drawn and the agreement is merely a verbal one, as in the case of small dwellings and tenements, where the rent is paid at short intervals, as a week or a month, and where the arrangement may. be terminated on short notice by either the landlord or the tenant.
In a general way it may be said that the purpose of a lease, beyond stating the terms to be observed by the parties, is the protection of both the landlord and the tenant. The landlord is protected because the tenant agrees to make stipulated payments in a definite manner, and such agreements can usually be enforced through the courts, although the method of procedure and the practical value of the remedy vary with the locality. The tenant is protected because he is assured - if he fulfils his part of the contract - of the use of definite property for a definite period at a definite price.
The law and the practice regarding leases vary in each country and in each of our states. It would be useless to attempt to follow these variations further than to remind the accountant that it is a part of his duty to familiarize himself with all local requirements as to leases.
While it is not the duty of an accountant to act as appraiser, it is his duty to see that leases are drawn and executed in conformity with statutory requirements. This is especially true in the United States, where owners of real estate, when leasing their property, frequently rely upon printed forms, of more or less excellence, bought by the dozen from the nearest stationer, dispensing with the services of a legal adviser until they find themselves at the court-house door.